Even if your teen is well-behaved and generally well-mannered you might still find yourself reminding him about writing thank-you notes or getting off the phone. Social etiquette classes are designed to teach teens appropriate behavior while removing the nagging power struggle many parents experience when they ask their teen to take his elbows off the table. Because the style, length and duration of etiquette courses differ, carefully research the programs in your area.
Some teen social etiquette courses are taught in a traditional manner, in a formal setting and by a much older instructor. Ultra-formal social etiquette courses might focus less on cell phone use and more on five-course dining, or a combination of both. Other courses focus on a range of social etiquette pertaining to many different areas of teen life. Some courses have a formal dress code for each class, while others simply require that your teen attend wearing something that's clean, unoffensive and in good repair.
Traditional Topics Covered
Among the more traditional topics covered in teen social etiquette courses are table manners, utensil use, handshaking and introductions, being a good host/guest and appropriate conversation topics. Although many of these etiquette points are classic, and have been pillars of good manners for decades, a course that focuses on teens will present modern-day contexts for each lesson. Some especially formal courses might even cover topics such as appropriate interactions with domestic employees.
Modern Topics Covered
Most teen social etiquette courses now cover topics such as texting and social network etiquette, how to send an email properly and how to be respectful of others online when sending mass emails. Other topics will include appropriate, and inappropriate times and places to use cell phones or text. The goal is to teach teenagers that good manners and protocol still apply to changing means of communication.
In an effort to engage teenagers effectively, many social etiquette courses use a combination of role-playing, lecture and discussion. A formal sit-down meal is often part of the course at some point, and some courses even feature an eating lesson during each class where teens can practice they're newly honed manners. Special guests might come in periodically to discuss social etiquette for a particular circumstance that's relevant to teens, such as a college interview and application process.